Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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My Darkness Is Shining

It's been there so long I know to avert my eyes at just the right second to avoid seeing it. If I want to. Lately I've become curious about its state of decomposition.

I was riding my bike one sticky hot July afternoon and there it was, right in my path; nearly perfect except for the being dead part. As if the magnificent animal got drowsy while loitering there on the side of the highway and decided to lie down for a snooze.

I'd cycle past the dead deer a couple times a week when my bike routes took me that way and I'd drive past it on my way to work. I figured some kind of government agency would come cart it away, maybe? Or some backwoods livin' hillbilly who don't mind a little gravel in his meat but no. There it stayed. What with it being July and all it started to stink within a day or two. Death funk. Kinda smell that makes your eyes water, can melt your face and induce gags if it catches you unawares. When biking I could smell it before I'd see it and I'd hold my breath, look away and hum a little tune to myself because fuuuck.

Roadkill destroys me. It's been known to ruin my day before. A bird once flew into the windshield of the Honda when Serge was driving. It flopped heavily across the glass before sliding off the side. I cried for an hour. Every time I got ahold of myself the frantic flip-flap-flopping would replay in my brain and I'd add a new terrible detail that may or may not have actually happened - imagine I saw bird eyes wide with terror just before it hit, stuff like that - and tears would begin anew. I don't know why I find it all so fucking tragic. Certainly there are a million worse things in the world than a dead deer or even the dead groundhogs that give me pause, their tiny paws stretched stiffly skyward, little faces frozen in a rictus of horror.

So it was The Summer of the Dead Deer. I passed it a lot and got to thinking that its slow melting into the pavement was representative of my marriage which died a million deaths over the past six months. A million deaths that amount to one big fucking flatline. There were moments I thought we'd make it. Like those paddles, what are they called? Defibrillators? A couple moments like that when something would happen and I'd look at him and he'd look at me and I'd feel zapped and think maybe we would make it, maybe it didn't have to be this way. But we flatlined. And we've been decomposing along with that deer.

It's still there. I passed it today on my way to work. It's flat. Nothing's left but a kind of skin silhouette lying flush with the road. Pretty soon that'll be gone too.